When you’re starting a business, developing a strong business plan will be one of the first steps you take. Your business plan will cover everything from a detailed explanation of your products or services and pricing model to at least three years of financial projections—plus much more. Therefore, whether you’re not sure how to get started or you’re just looking to make the process easier, you may want to turn to business plan software for help.
In this guide, we'll break down five of the best business plan software options—discussing their pros, cons, features, pricing, and more—so you have all the information you need to decide which solution is right for your small business.
The 5 best business plan software options
The right business plan software will make the process of writing your business plan much simpler. Like many business software solutions, however, there are a number of different business plan software options out there—each of which has a unique set of features, user experience, and price.
This being said, if you're looking for a place to start your search for the best business plan software, you can explore the five top options below:
Best overall business plan software.
If you want template-rich, modern-feeling business plan software, then LivePlan may be the right pick for you. LivePlan excels with their user interface, which feels updated and slick, and also offers intuitive, easy-to-use features and options.
Their step-by-step instruction will help you kick things off from the beginning, and you can take advantage of their online learning center to continue to gain business skills.
Affordable plans, including pay-as-you-go option
No long-term contracts or cancellation fee; 60-day money-back guarantee
Modern, intuitive interface; cloud-based, can be used on Mac, PC, as well as tablets
Ability to create unlimited plans in one account; over 500 customizable templates
Variety of business resources including video tutorials, step-by-step instruction, and general customer support
Limited integration options
Challenging to enter your own financial modeling projections
Can be difficult to learn
Ability to create an unlimited number of business plans on one account
More than 500 business plan templates spanning various industries
Integration with Xero and QuickBooks Online
Real-time tracking of financial data with accounting integrations
Ability to export your business plan to Word or PDF
Expert advice and step-by-step instruction included
Performance dashboards for tracking against budgets and sales goals
Ability to create and export a one-page pitch executive summary
Annual plan: $15 per month, billed every 12 months
Six-month plan: $18 per month, billed every six months
Pay-as-you-go plan: $20 per month, billed once every month
Best for multiple business management tools in one platform.
Next on our list of the best business plan software options is GoSmallBiz, which is much more than just a business plan software. With GoSmallBiz, you have access to business continuity planning software with features that cover creating a roadmap, working through business and legal forms, building a website, and more.
In this way, GoSmallBiz is great for startups or newer businesses looking to access multiple business management tools through one platform.
Unlimited business consultation and extensive library of online resources
Multiple business tools in one software
Website consultation analysis and business assessment
Industry-specific business plan templates with emphasis on financial projections and statements
Expensive monthly cost compared to alternatives
Limited business plan features
Entire business plan can only be exported to Microsoft Word
Industry-specific business plan templates with step-by-step building wizard
Ability to create financial statements and projections
Free website hosting and website builder
Customer relationship manager with integration with MailChimp
Digital marketing dashboard with social media and Google Analytics integrations
HR document builder
Corporate minutes writer
Business documents library
Business courses library
Unlimited business consultation
$39 per month, no contracts, free cancellation
Best for simple, fast business plan creation.
If you're looking for free business plan software, Enloop will be one of your closest options—they offer an all-inclusive seven-day free trial, no credit card required. Additionally, unlike some of the other options on our list, Enloop is strictly dedicated to business plan creation, including automated text writing, financial forecast comparisons, and a real-time performance score that tracks your progress.
This being said, if you'd prefer the most straightforward, fast, and simple way to write your business plan, Enloop will be a platform worth considering.
Simple and straightforward software, solely dedicated to business plan creation
Seven-day free trial
Automatic text generation available to streamline the writing process
Affordable plans with annual discount option
Limited additional educational resources
Only one template option
No integration options
Ability to create three business plans with customizable text, images, tables, charts, and over 100 currency symbols and formats
Includes automatic text generation for each plan section that you can then customize
Automatically generated financial statements
Includes financial performance comparison analysis (using three ratios with Detailed plan and 16 with Performance plan)
Real-time performance score to track your progress
Ability to invite users to edit (two with Detailed plan, five with Performance plan)
Pass/fail report and certificate to help you identify issues with your plan
Free plan: Seven-day free trial with no credit card required
Detailed plan: $19.95 per month or $11 per month, paid annually
Performance plan: $39.95 per month, or $24 per month, paid annually
Best for startups looking to acquire funding or find investors.
Part of the Startups.com suite, Bizplan gets top marks for their user interface—it’s intuitive, easy to use, and modern. You’ll work with a step-by-step business plan builder to get exactly what you’d like from your business plan. It may remind you of a modern website builder, since it has drag-and-drop tools to build templates.
Moreover, for one subscription fee, you have access to all of the tools in the Startups.com network, including self-guided courses, how-to guides, masterclass videos, and more. All in all, with a direct connection to Fundable, Bizplan is a top business plan software option for startups looking to acquire funding and find investors.
Subscription gives you access to all Startups.com tools
Lifetime access subscription option
User-friendly drag-and-drop business plan builder
Excellent educational resources
Connection to Fundable great for businesses looking for capital
No free trial
No templates based on industry
No mobile access
Drag-and-drop templates for business plan building
Financial command center to track all business financials in one place
Unlimited account collaborators
Ability to share business plan online with investors
Online resources including self-guided courses, masterclass videos, how-to guides, mentorship access
Unlimited software use for Fundable, Launchrock, and Startups.com
Monthly plan: $29 per month
Annual plan: $20.75 per month, billed at $249 per year
Lifetime access: $349 one-time fee
Best for financial planning and budgeting.
Finally, for some of the strongest financial features among business plan software options, including budgeting and forecasting, you might check out PlanGuru. Whereas the other solutions we've reviewed were first and foremost focused on writing a business plan, PlanGuru is dedicated to business financial planning—providing the tools you need to create budgets, financial forecasts, reports, and more.
Therefore, if you need a software solution that can streamline the financial piece of your business planning processes, PlanGuru will certainly have the most to offer.
Extensive financial tools and detailed forecasting, budgeting, and reporting capabilities
Substantial library of resources
Cloud-based and desktop options
14-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee
Expensive, especially for additional users
Only focuses on the financial aspect of business planning; no templates or tools for basic business plan writing
Difficult to use without prior financial knowledge
Cloud-based version of software, as well as locally installed Windows version (desktop version has a few more features)
Works with QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Excel
Budgeting and forecasting for up to 10 years
Over 20 standard forecasting methods
Formula builder to create custom methods
Ratios and KPIs
Dashboard and reporting tools
Help guides, video tutorials, knowledgebase, and live U.S.-based customer support
14-day free trial
$99 per month (additional users $29 per month)
$899 per year (additional users $299 per year)
What to look for in business plan software
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide, which, if any, of the best business plan software solutions on our list is right for your business.
So, if you're trying to figure out how to choose between the various options out there, it might be helpful to compare your top choices based on the following criteria:
Features: As we've seen different business plan software solutions offer different features. You'll want to look carefully at the feature list of any software and determine what features are most important for your business needs. Do you need an extensive library of templates with detailed customization? Would you prefer software that includes an online learning center for business skills? Are you looking for a solution that combines business plan writing with other tasks? It may be useful to list out your ideal feature set, so you can compare individual software plans to that list.
Price: Although you might be able to find some free business plan software options (or at the very least, free trials), in most cases, you'll need to pay a subscription fee to access the platform you choose. Therefore, you'll want to think about what your budget is for this business tool and what type of software is most cost-effective for your needs.
User experience: User experience can vary widely among different business plan software options. You’ll find some programs that are newer or have been recently updated. Others might have the kind of interfaces that felt new years ago but are now pretty out of date—and, subsequently, make them a little harder to use. The right user experience for your needs is genuinely a matter of opinion and comfort—nevertheless, it's worth testing thoroughly testing out a platform to ensure that it can truly work for you before investing in a monthly or annual subscription.
The bottom line
There's no doubt that properly crafting your business plan is important for the future growth and success of your small business. Luckily, the right business plan software should make the process much simpler.
This being said, whether you opt for one of the best business plan software options listed here, or another platform entirely, you'll want to take the time to compare multiple solutions and ensure you choose the one that's right for your business.
As we mentioned, it can be helpful to think about the features you're looking for, your budget, and your user-experience preferences ahead of time—that way, you'll have a set of criteria in mind as you explore different solutions.
Ultimately, perhaps the best thing you can do to find the right software is to actually test out the platforms themselves—either by using a free trial or a money-back guarantee.
This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.